Saturday, February 27, 2010

The World's Shortest Political Quiz

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I'm a Liberal!!

The World's Shortest Political Quiz

In these trying times, it's not enough to go off hearsay and political propaganda to know where you stand on the important issues plaguing our nation. That said, everyone should know exactly where they stand in the political spectrum. There's no excuse not to have a firm grasp on your political leanings (Knowledge of Self, bitches). That's why things like 'The World's Shortest Political Quiz' are so important. By answering 10 questions, you can know whether you're Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Statist or Apathetic (thanks for adding to the confusion, Facebook). Regardless of where you stand, make sure you're abreast of your own leanings. Check out my score and take the quiz for yourself...

Dear Michael Jordan

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"Now, I can own you on and off the court!"

via The Wall Street Journal:
Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest player in basketball history, has reached a deal to buy an NBA franchise. Mr. Jordan has agreed to buy a majority interest of the Charlotte Bobcats from Robert L.Johnson, the team's majority owner, according to a statement released by Mr. Johnson Saturday. The deal is subject to league approval. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the sale price was beneath $300 million— "in the mid-to-high twos," said a person familiar with the matter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mr. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, paid $300 million for the expansion franchise in 2003, but the team has been losing money amid a rough economy and years of poor on-court performance. In the past two years, the team has attempted to save money by doing everything from shedding at least 40 front-office jobs to saving as much as $15,000 a night by hiring cheap halftime-entertainment acts. Neither Mr. Jordan nor Mr. Johnson were available for comment.

Michael, you are the greatest player to have lived, in my opinion. Numerous childhood memories of basketball were shaped by the man we know as Air Jordan. It would seem as if being a player of that caliber would afford you an unparalleled knowledge of basketball. Unfortunately for you, Mike, that hasn't been the case. For lack of a better word, your decisions while dealing with the Washington Wizards were stupid. Kwame Brown turned out to be nothing more than a punchline, and other than you playing, the Wizards went nowhere but home during your tenure as Director of Basketball Operations. With Charlotte, you were given a minuscule role, just pouring money in, rather than making decisions, which hasn't turned out too bad.

Enter 2010, and we hear that you're finally going to buy a controlling stake in the Charlotte Bobcats. *GASP* My heart jumped into my esophagus upon hearing that news, not because I was excited to see you in the front office, but because I know what happens when you and money get involved (1993 gambling controversy anyone??). Michael, the Charlotte Bobcats are on the rise. They just had their first All-Star nomination in Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson is still playing out of his mind, and they just made a trade to bring high-flyer Tyrus Thomas in. All signs are pointing forward for the franchise. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that the Bobcats are destined for doom with you at the helm, because Bob Johnson didn't do much himself. #imjustsayin that your track record has a few holes in it when you're not on the court. Michael, I wish you all the best of luck as the owner of the Bobcats. Just make sure that as the new owner, you at least get a stylist, because no owner should be coming out of the house looking like this...

For someone who revolutionized fashion, you'd think he wouldn't be shopping at TJ-Maxx...
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XV - 30 Minute Layover

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XV - 30 Minute Layover

A second chance is something that few rappers can or should be afforded. After what seemed like a techno-laced snore in 'Everybody's Nobody,' I was reluctant to give the man another listen. Then, after listening to 'Warmup Freestyle' off XV's new mixtape '30 Minute Layover,' I couldn't not give him that second chance. XV seems to have upped the ante since his last offering, experimenting more with his wordplay and making wiser decisions with his beat selection. Vizzy seems hungry on the mixtape, his delivery is clear and straightforward, and his metaphors are masterful. I would go so far as to say he's one of the top 3 in this year's XXL Freshman 10, the other two being Wiz & J. Cole. Ironically, he says 'nigga what's a freshman list?' on one of the tracks. If that means he's doing it for the love and art instead of the accolades, then I can't help but be a fan. I'm definitely on the lookout for 'The Kid With the Green Backpack'. Check the download, tracklist/back cover, #dopetracks, loosies and videos...

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#dopetracks:
Warmup Freestyle
Top of the World
Nothing on You
X.plosi.V.e
This Plane

Loosies:
XV – Lift the Game
XV – Warmup Freestyle
XV – Me, You (rmx) f. Freddie Gibbs & Shawn Chrystopher

Videos:


Friday, February 26, 2010

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child



Jean-Michel Basquiat was one of the first artists of African descent to make it big into the mainstream. While some of his Brookyln brethren were finding out about crack and hip-hop, Basquiat was a psuedo-celebrity in his own right, hob-knobbing with the likes of Madonna and creating art that would stand the test of time. Twenty-plus years later, one of his closest friends is releasing unseen footage of the artist, in a documentary entitled 'Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child'. The footage includes Basquiat talking about his art, motivation, and shows him living two years before his death in 1988. Check the trailer...

Dear Anthem Blue Cross



via The Los Angeles Times:
Reporting from Sacramento — Executives from California health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross, under fire for scheduled rate hikes of up to 39%, insisted Tuesday that their premiums were fair and legal, and they told lawmakers they expected that the increases would go forward. Appearing before the state Assembly's health committee, the officials said that they believed rate increases for individual health insurance policies, delayed until May 1 while being reviewed by the Department of Insurance, would survive scrutiny by regulators.

President Obama on Monday proposed an expansion of federal authority to regulate health insurance rate increases such as Anthem's as part of his national healthcare reform package. In Sacramento, Anthem's president, Leslie Margolin, told the committee that much of the public frustration over the rate hikes was misdirected and should be aimed at the nation's healthcare system.

"This debate and this inquiry cannot and should not be just about the insurance industry or the delivery system or regulators or legislators or customers or brokers," Margolin said.

Now, it's kind of hard to address a letter to an entire company, but I've done worse so here goes:

Take a look at the video... Take a good long look at it. Look at how happy that kid is that he didn't have a serious condition that you guys wouldn't pay for. I've kept my mouth shut about insurance and health care and the insurance companies for a while, simply because I'm not in a position to sit here and talk shit about a entity that I don't identify with. Now, however, I can talk all I want. Anthem, you guys are trifling. How dare you hike up your prices 39% for health care while we're still in a recession? I mean, seriously. As if the overwhelming financial collapse and the impending doom from global warming or natural disaster weren't enough, you guys decided it was cool to nickel and dime Californians some more. I don't get it. How can you guys be so hypocritical, as to claim the system is failing, yet continue to feed into it by charging insane rates for health care?

One thing I've always wondered about most service companies is how they can purport this ideal of caring employees and respect for the customer when you guys lie to everyone, including yourselves? Since when has raising prices been a method of helping people? Since when has an 'affordable plan' come at a 39% markup? The fact that you guys are even trying to fight it shows how screwed up the priorities of big health care are. Instead of reworking your system in an effort to work with our government for a change, you guys are making it worse. They say most good businessmen are bad people. But if your business is to help people, where do you draw the line between trying to make a profit and simply screwing people over?? I guess when you have enough 'Jacks' running around breaking bones, all you can see is money...

Freestyle Friday (2/26)



Yo, yo, yo!!! It's Friday, which means we made it through another week, and that we've got freestyles on deck for your guys. Last week I must've posted about 5 verses from this year's XXL Freshman 10. This week, I've got one. The ones that came out this week were kind of weak (aside from Donnis), so I went digging through the interwebs and blogosphere for some other joints. The first one is from XV, who I gave a second chance to last night. He didn't disappoint me this time, and you (readers) should be pleasantly surprised too. The second one is from someone who was an unknown to me a few weeks ago. Pill, repping Atlanta, is signed to Def Jam apparently, and was in last week's Freestyle Friday. He rips off a nice set of bars while on some random rooftop (hip-hop video staple). The third one is from Donnis, and though his voice irritates me and his flow is semi-retarded, his lyrics are on point. Isn't that what we listen for though?? Whatever the case, check out all three ciphers and keep it locked to Dear Whoever...



2011 Audi RS5

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Eurocars > Everything (except maybe Japanese). Yes, I said it. The past few car shows have been all about the US manufacturers and the fact that they've finally realized no one wants a humongous gas-guzzler anymore. At the same time, the European car makers are sticking to their scripts and still improving their designs and performance by that much more. Audi is carrying on that tradition in preparing for the release of its 2011 RS5. Pictures and specs got leaked for the German supercar, and the car couldn't be sexier. It boasts a 4.2-liter V8 that produces 444 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, connected to a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The engine goes from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, and clocks in at a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph). With specs like that, you'd better come with your pockets open, with a price tag of $105,000. Then again, this baby might not even make it to the US. I guess I can dream...

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Neighborhood Newsletter (2/26)

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Best front door policy ever...

5 Things You Can Learn About Credit from Gangster Flicks

G.M. to Close Hummer After Sale Fails

How You Can Live To 100 (Graphic)

Cigarette smokers have lower IQs than non-smokers

Viewer's guide to the health-care summit

More Black Women Consider Interracial Dating

A Curvy Woman's Body is Like a Drug for Men

5 Reasons The U.S. Isn't Ready To Leave Iraq

Blockbuster Closes 500 Stores. Lying CEO: "Future Is Bright"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Illecism - Tenga Un Refresco: Vol. 2

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Illecism - Tenga Un Refresco: Vol. 2

Illecism kind of took a step back with his last offering 'Forhdaboy'. Along with having a weird name, the beat selection was iffy. That was in January. Now that it's February, you'd think Illy would be taking a bit of a break to charge his batteries. Clearly that's not the case. Illecism dropped 'Tenga Un Refresco: Vol. 2' today, the sequel to his mixtape from last year, 'Have a Refreshment: Vol. 1'. This time around, Illy didn't skip a beat. His lyrics and punchlines are consistent and hard-hitting. You can hear the charisma in every track. He switches up flows on every song, so it really doesn't even feel like 24 tracks. Illecism makes light of his life as a 20-year-old struggling rapper, painting his pictures perfectly with stories, bars, interviews and skits imploring the rap game to 'have a refreshment'. The man is correct and is just the drink rap needs. Check out the link, back cover and tracklist, #dopetracks, loosies and videos...

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#dopetracks:
Hora Feliz!
Jerk
Chica de la Hood
Janae
Bares
Radio Contra

Loosies:
Illecism - Dilla Day



Curren$y & Stalley - Address



Creative Control needs to be on your radar these days with all of the dope visuals they've been putting out lately. They teamed up with Curren$y again and brought along Stalley for the song Address. The video is filmed in Kingston, Jamaica (876 LIGHTERS UP!!!) and shows both uptown and downtown Kingston. The video fits the song perfectly, in that, for both of the artists and for Creative Control, nothing has changed but the address. Check the visuals....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dear Diddy



Diddy, Diddy, Diddy, you've long been the culprit of my ire because of your ridiculous penchant for being overly flashy, but this takes the cake (birthday puns haha). Honestly, I've never seen such an unneeded showing of wealth as when I turned on the TV and watched you shower your son with gifts for his 16th birthday. Though, I cant't deny that I would give my children at least one birthday blow out each, there is a limit. There are entirely too many things wrong with they way you're doing this whole parenting thing.

First of all, why in God's name would you ever bless a 16-year-old, who hasn't driven a day in his life, a $400,000 Maybach?!?! It's not like he's got pressing business to attend to on his way to high school, using the wireless. It's not as if he has to have a glass of Ace of Spades on his way to soccer practice. Hell, the Maybach came with a driver! What really was the point?!?! Second of all, what is the deal with all of the conspicuous consumption? What kind of parenting manual were you reading, that told you stuffing a stack full of $20 bills into your child's pocket was the way to show your children love? When you do that, you're basically shouting to the kid in Ebonics: MONEY CAN BUY YOU HAPPINESS!. Also, you're ensuring that your son will never want to do a hard day's work in his life. Third of all, why at the end of the party did you decide to donate $10,000 in Justin's name? That's unbelievable! The car you bought that kid could have fed an entire village, so to make up for it, you shaved off 10 stacks. I suppose when you're that rich and arrogant, helping out by signing your name is the least you can do in the face of overspending and inane celebrity appearances. Like I said, celebrating the triumphs and milestones of your children is a must. It's just when that in and of itself turns into *gasp* an MTV reality show...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (2/23)



Piracy Isn’t Killing The Movie Industry, Greed Is

Law enforcement tracking US cell phones in real time

Toyota exec boasted of saving $100M avoiding recall in 2009

Important Work Can Be Done While Daydreaming

Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods

CBO: Stimulus bill created up to 2.1 million jobs

Doctor Accused Of Sexually Abusing 103 Children

Two-seater rocket may fly humans to space by 2011

Army Alcoholics: More Soldiers Hitting the Bottle

The Kid Daytona - The Minimum (ft. Tiara Wiles)



The Kid Daytona's been pretty quiet as of late, but I trust he's been in the stu doing what he does best: rapping. Regardless, he dropped a video for his song from 'Come Fly With Me', 'The Minimum' with Tiara Wiles. The video oozes influence from A Tribe Called Quest and does the song a hell of a lot of justice with the visuals. Check out the video and the BTS footage below...

Nike Air 180 (Spring 2010)

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Groundhog Day was 3 weeks ago, meaning there are still about 3 more weeks until winter meets its end for the year. That said, it's never too early to think about new threads for the spring. Nike's bringing back more colorways of its Air 180, starting with this one. It's clearly made for spring with the teal and orange (Miami Dolphins, anyone?), and should be out in April or May...

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Greetings From: New Richmond, Ohio



Greetings from New Richmond, Ohio, where people have gotten so fed up with the banks trying to play bully with their property, that they'd rather destroy it. Terry Hoskins was weeks away from having his home foreclosed by River Hills Bank, after defaulting on a debt of $160,000 on the mortgage. Instead of letting that happen to his $350,000 home, he took matters into his own hands and bulldozed his own house, leveling the property in just under 2 hours. There's no word yet as to what the legal ramifications will be for Mr. Hoskins. However, I don't think he'll be doing too many deals with the bank anytime soon. Hopefully he doesn't still have to pay that debt, or the guy will be homeless and broke...

ItsTheReal - Charles Discharged



Charles Hamilton had a hell of a year in 2009, to say the least. I kind of wrote the man off after the Normalcy EP came out, just because it didn't come hard enough and seemed like Chuck was too late in trying to recoup his career. Videos like this from ItsTheReal show not only that Charles might not be done, but also he has no problem poking fun at his mishaps. As a matter of fact, it's somewhat exciting to see that Charles is sober and ready to work again. Whatever the case, the video is hilarious. Check out Charles Discharged...

Green Zone (2010)



Matt Damon is officially an action star. Quote me on that. After dropping jaws left and right with his wildly successful appearances in The Jason Bourne series, Damon is back with another BANGER. Green Zone is based on the novel Imperial Life in the Emerald City by journalist Rajiv Chandrasekara, which deals with the United States' search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Damon plays a CIA officer who stumbles onto pivotal information in that search. Looks like it's going to be a hell of an action movie. Check the trailer...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (2/19)


Who told her that this was a talent???

School used student laptop webcams to spy on them

Smelly passenger kicked off flight

BREAKING: Documents prove Toyota hid evidence, lawyer says

The Status Quo on Health Care is Failing

URL typos earn Google $497 million per year, study says

Income of Top world Leaders (Infographic)

The Truth Behind 8 Cell Phone Myths

U.S. Could Beat China in Race Back to the Moon

Dear Tiger Woods



Okay, Tiger... I'm actually sick of writing about you and wish that some other athlete or personality would do something newsworthy. Regardless, as I turned on my television this morning to ESPN (as usual), I was met with the usual talk about you and your career and its downfall. After all of this, I have one thing to say:

WHY ARE YOU APOLOGIZING!?!?!?

Tiger do you realize how bad the media made you look? If so, you should realize that by apologizing on national television and making such a big deal about it, you're playing right into the media's hands. I find it funny that you felt the need to do this considering the amount of infidelity that runs rampant among celebrities, entertainers, athletes and politicians. John Edwards had a lovechild that he denied for a year. Lil' Wayne has about 6 baby mothers that we actually know of. Yet and still, no one is asking them to apologize. You've essentially put yourself in a position, where if you don't do well at golf when you come back, your career is over, no matter how much you apologize. You've been painted a cheater and homewrecker and a person of bad moral character in the court of public opinion. In fact, I think if you had just kept silent, and popped up at the next major tournament on the PGA Tour, it would be a lot more powerful than you up at a podium reciting a written apology. It's a sad state in the world where groupies can bring down the most pristine of stars, yet people who do just as much wrong go unnoticed. Tiger, go hit the ball and love your business partner wife. Lord knows she's waiting for another groupie to step to you so she can collect that next check...

RAAAAAAAANDY - The Mixtape



If you watched the movie 'Funny People' (yeah it wasn't that good) then you remember Aziz Ansari's character, Randy. It's funnier that now, Aziz is taking his character to the next level and recording a comedy mixtape in that character. He's going to have special appearances from his in house DJ, and more jokes that will have you laughing your d*cks off. Check the trailer out and stay tuned for the actual mixtape...

Freestyle Friday (2/19)



What's good people? It's Friday, which means freestyles!! Today, it's the XXL edition of Freestyle Friday because of all the cyphers coming out from this year's Freshman 10. Honestly, we know most of these cats already, but I suppose it's time for them to step into the limelight. Check out verses from J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Nipsey Hussle, Fashawn and Pill...





Thursday, February 18, 2010

LED Coffee Table

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This is either some kid's fantasy, or came straight out of an episode of Cribs. Customized Designs manufactures this coffee table which encases a 32-inch screen, and can be connected to any video input. The company also can build in underlights, as well as a netbook PC into the console with a bunch of pre-made background. Don't worry about scratches and water damage, because the glass is 1/4 inch think. All in all, a table like this would turn any living room into your favorite room, though at $1499, it's not a recession-buy. Check the video...

Dear NBA Owners

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I guess owning the Clippers has its perks when you're the one pulling the strings, whether they win or lose...

It's been a long time coming, but slowly and surely, the summer of 2010 will be upon us. A year ago, it seemed like all of the speculation around potential free agents was all sizzle and no steak. Now that it's 2010, and a lockout is becoming more and more imminent by the day, a lot of you are trying to save your asses. You're looking to set yourself up for the summer to get a good pickup, and also trying to make sure your teams will be solvent and your assets players will be safe from the bullshit of arbitration. That said, I can understand the frenzy. At the same time, I think it is detestable how you guys are treating your players, because it's going to affect the game soon.

Whether it's Marcus Camby finding out about his trade (2 days after the fact) from his agent while at dinner with his family, or John Salmons being left at the team's hotel on a gameday upon his trade, it's obvious: you guys have become less and less concerned with the treatment of their players and more with the bottom line. And that bottom line is coming before player morale (the Nets look like they're writing suicide notes), the team winning (Knicks; 'nuff said) and even federal law (coughGilbertcoughcoughArenascough). But seriously, when will it stop guys? When will the cap-clearing and player shuffling stop? When will you guys hold on to your players so that there's some sense of loyalty? I'm not going to lie. Players are spoiled prima donnas sometimes. Sometimes moving players need to be moved for one reason or another. Sometimes the money does override the player's interest. But here's an interesting thought: maybe taking care of your players would lead to better outcomes and less friction between the players and the ownership.


T-Mac probably would have gone right back to this, given the time to rest...

Think about it: Why didn't LeBron participate in the Dunk Contest this year? He didn't want to get injured and have the front office start yanking his money. Look at T-Mac (PRAYING he's back to form for the Knicks). Why was his departure from Houston so hard? The ownership didn't want to lose their asset player, and would rather him rot on the bench. Look at Chris Paul, who's team decided to have surgery on his knee, instead of letting it heal naturally. He could have stayed out and rehabbed the knee correctly, but is probably going to play again this season (another order from the management), and re-aggravate it. And there are historical precedents for this, like A'mare Stoudamire or J-Kidd, who's careers were slowed down by their teams opting for quick returns. You guys really do treat the players like assets. No wonder there's going to be a lockout. Players won't play for you guys unless they know their money is safe, because they know once you're done with them, they get dropped.

I suppose it is just business, and we are in a recession. but at the end of the day, is the NBA doing good business right now? Players against the owners, injuries galore, wack All-Star Games and lack of competition don't sound like a success to me. Then again, most people would rather wack basketball than none. Get it together, owners. This summer will definitely be crazy, but you guys have to do your players right, and I guarantee they'll do right by you...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (2/17)


Don't care what anyone says.. Invite me to the next flash mob!!

Central Falls High School To Fire Every Single Teacher

Obama: $8.3 billion to build first nuclear plant since 1990

Pregnant Mom Incites Riot inside Memphis Chuck E. Cheese

If Men Wrote Women’s Magazines

Women at war: Sexual violence in the US military

14 Reasons to Allow Drinking at Work

Yemen's Capital to be World's First City to Run Out of Water

Many men refuse condoms because of poor fit

Judge a Book By its Cover



No, that is not a typo. I meant to entitle this blog post that way, because frankly, it's a lesson few people learn. Also, it's a friendly reminder of why Oakland is not to be messed with. On a city bus, a white man and a black man get into an argument over something racially sensitive. The white guy walks away, and you see the back of his shirt, which says 'I Am a Motherfucker'. Now, I don't know about the next man, but upon seeing that shirt, I most likely would have ended the quibble and went about my day. As you can see in the video, homeboy who got bloodied up clearly didn't heed the advice in the title. I hope the people in the ambulance didn't laugh too hard at him...

Dear Waka Flocka Flame



Keeping it Real, like a very famous comedian once said (if you need the name, off yourself), is the most used phrase in the world. Everyone likes to keep it real. The question, however, is whether everyone can keep it real. Most people say they keep it real, but then when faced with the opportunity to do such, either keep it extra fake or, worse, keep it too real. Therein lies the problem: How real is too real? Does realism stop because of a less-than-honorable cause, or should we keep it real regardless?

via AllHipHop.com:
Waka Flocka Flame is currently in the recording studio working on completing his goal of releasing twenty street albums by 2011. Three releases are currently on deck, including Salute Me or Shoot Me Volumes 2 and 3 and the studio album Murda Man Flocka. Waka, who is a member of 1017 Brick Squad, will travel to New York this week to make an appearance on BET’s 106 & Park countdown show.

Enter Waka Flocka Flame (FLOCKA!!!!). You are one of my new favorite rappers, simply because you keeps it real. Waka, you don't try to fool hip-hop. Unlike 95% of the industry, who hide behind a guise of lyricism and try to dupe the masses into believing their raps are superior, you keep it 100. Your lyrics are non-existent, and you have absolutely no problem with that, and now, I have no problem with that. Waka, I can respect your hustle (this is when 'hustle' should be used) because besides making money and getting shot over a chain, you don't bother anyone. You stay in your lane of making ignorant catchy tunes and doing shows and are making BANK off of that. In fact, by saying that the lyrical cats in hip-hop aren't making money, you may have made one of the best points I've ever heard! Infectious singles make stars (for the most part), not punchlines and metaphors. I'm not going to sit here and say that I condone that (I wouldn't be keeping it real), but it's a valid assertion, Waka.

For what it's worth, your music is catchy in that 'I'm at a club with a drink in hand and nonsense on my mind' way. At the same time, it's never going to make me press rewind or be on my shortlist of best lyrical songs. As long as you're okay with that, I'm okay with that. Like you said, you have no wife, no kids, a brand new house, cars and are doing shows for over $15,000 each. And that all came from an admitted non-lyrical track that shot up the charts. AND you have another 20 albums on the way?? Waka, that is trill, to say the least. If more people kept it as real as you did, there would be no reason for the rap vs. hip-hop debate. The lanes would be clear, and everyone would have their slice of the pie...

Ski Beatz - 24 Hour Karate School



Ski Beatz - 24 Hour Karate School (Snippets)

Remember the Kicks, Chicks & Porno Flicks mixtape I posted about a month ago? Well, in that post I spoke about togetherness in hip-hop and a new wave of collaborations coming our way. This is one of them. Producer Ski Beatz, along with Dame Dash brought together the likes of Mos Def, Jim Jones, Curren$y, The Cool Kids, Stalley, Jean Grae, Jay Electronica, Camp Lo, Wiz Khalifa and Tabi Bonney to create the album '24 Hour Karate School'. Clearly most of these MC's aren't well versed (pun; get it?) in karate, so they did the next best thing, and rapped. The tape doesn't come out until March 30th, so I guess you'll have to practice centering your chi until then. Check out the trailer and some snippets from the tape...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2010)



I'm generally not the biggest fan of taking animation to live action. However, I was never really an Avatar (James Cameron cost Disney millions by swiping that name) fan, so seeing this movie won't ruin a classic like GI Joe did. 'The Last Airbender' (the official title) follows the first season of the show, where Aang (the last airbender; hence the title) tries to restore balance to the earth. Yeah, it's a bit of a trippy premise if you're not into fantasy, but visually it looks pretty cool. Not sure if it's going to compare to the real other Avatar, but with a bunch of bad buddy comedies slated for this summer, there might not be much more to watch...

ItsTheReal: Hey Mr. Cartel



via ItsTheReal

Young Money has long been the butt of hip-hop jokes because of their lack of star power behind Lil' Wayne, Drake and Nicki Lewinski. Yet, it's looking like they're going to have to rely on that star power when Weezy F. Baby goes to Club Fed Riker's Island next month. Hip-hop comedy blog, ItsTheReal delves into whether the 2nd, 3rd and so forth in command of Young Money can hold the fort down until their Daddy (you know someone in YM has to call him that, at this point) comes home. Check the video, because, trust, you've been thinking the same thing for a minute...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (2/15)


Maybe Kanye didn't really originate the Kanye Shrug??

George Washington's 110 Rules of Civility & Democracy

The 7 Steps of the Online Break Up

Prescription drug abuse is out of control

People in Canada Prefer Bacon to Sex, Survey Says

Voters Refuse To Pay Bill; City Shuts Off Lights

Becoming vegetarian 'can harm the environment'

The Only Immortal Animal on Earth [W/ PICS]

Strangest McFoods from around the World

Greetings From: Harlem, USA

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Greetings from Harlem, USA, where 15 years ago, hip-hop had made its way back uptown. In 1995, Big L released the album 'Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous', a gritty portrayal of life in Harlem at the time, and the most ridiculous barrage of metaphors this side of the Hudson. L came out to huge acclaim from the underground community and with good reason. His brand of rap had never been heard before. Sadly, Lamont Coleman was gunned down right on his block of 139th, at the peak of his career. His raps stand the test of time though. The track 'I Don't Understand It' talks about the watering-down of mainstream hip-hop and rappers putting on characters to sell records. That sounds eerily familiar to today. If a song made 15 years ago still applies today, shouldn't that artist be more highly acclaimed? #imjustsayin

RIP Big L
1974-1999


World's Largest Dodgeball Game



Re-living childhood memories when you're older is a treat that everyone relishes. I know a lot of you remember playing dodgeball in gym class. These students at the University of Alberta (Canada; next time get an atlas) decided not only to play dodgeball, but to host a game so big, it would break the world record for players. First off, some of those kids had to be cheating. And second off, how long was that game?? The game still looked like dope time. Check the video...

Dear 2010 NBA All Star Weekend

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Do you know what the difference between rap and hip-hop is? I'll give you a second. Whereas rap is saying you love something, hip-hop is being in love. Whereas much of rap is going through the motions, hip-hop is much more extensive. All-Star Weekend, you turned into rap, a shell of your former exciting self. I'm not sparing the rod this year because last year was even less disappointing. Let's see how far you've slipped:

First of all, ASG, what's up with all of the corporate sponsorships and bubble-gum R&B/pop acts? If it wasn't T-Mobile and Taco Bell ads being repeated left and right, then it was Shakira and Alicia Keys as long-winded headshakers of performances and Usher making me feel uncomfortable with his Batman-esque corset during the introduction.

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Skin-tight plastic does not make me want to play or watch basketball...

Second of all, All-Star Saturday night SUCKED. Point blank. The three-point contest had at least two participants who shouldn't have been in it (Paul Pierce, you aren't the best shooter in the world; you just got hot). Then, the dunk contest was a yawner to say the least. Gerald Wallace looked like he didn't want to be there, and did some of the blandest, emotionless dunks ever. Shannon Brown did a dunk that I can do after failing terribly at his first (somewhat) impressive dunk. DeMar DeRozan tried to copy Vince Carter with his dunks. And the winner, Nate Robinson did what he's been doing: be short and dunk. I have no problem with him winning it this year, because it sucked, but for future reference, get Nate out of the contest. His dunks wouldn't be as cool if he was 6'4" instead of 5'7". The dunk contest seriously might have taken a shotgun blast to the head with the way 2010's contest went. Either you get the stars to come out and go HARD, or you cancel it. That brings me to my final point, the actual All-Star Game.


DONTLETSHANNONDUNK.COM

ASW, I was one of a few people who didn't criticize some of your omissions from the teams, although I know some of the players didn't deserve to be there. I'm simply going to say that this year's game was a tad bit less boring than the dunk contest, but was unbelievably uncompetitive and boring. I didn't fall asleep because of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (their dunks and alley-oops could have won the dunk contest) being the superstars that they are and actually being competitive. Other than that, you're game this year was a YAWN. The game was about as intense as Summer's Eve lotion, and the eerie silence in your record crowd of 108,713 displayed that perfectly.

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Clearly the most exciting parts of the weekend were when this man touched the court.. Everything else?? Meeehhhhhh....

This was the biggest crowd to watch a basketball game EVER. All-Star Weekend, you could have been the boost that basketball needed. You could have been the reason that people got their interest in the NBA again. For people that don't watch basketball on the regular, the you should have been spectacular and bigger than big. Instead it was like a giant circus with unfunny clowns, tiny elephants and fake fire-breathers. I can honestly say that I've never been let down by a sporting event as much as I was with your ASW 2010. To say you were a slam dunk this year is more than a lie; it is a travesty...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dear Celebrity Philanthropists



DISCLAIMER: In no way, shape or form, am I denouncing the use of music for charity... It's just jokes, and social commentary.

We Are the World is a classic. By that virtue, it might have been better off not being touched. When crisis hits in the world, most normal musical conventions go out the door in lieu of philanthropy. Artists that would never have met are cast onto the same stage. Musical genres that should never really converge on the same song are mashed together for an honorable cause. Enter the earthquake in Haiti. Everyone bruised their fingers with the amount of aid text messages, and now you guys, the stars, decided to ramp up your own initiatives.

If this was what came of all your brainstorming and studio sessions, then you guys had better pray that this song even goes Wood. From the minute I saw Jamie Foxx's introduction, where he looked like he was holding back hysterical laughter, I knew that this song was destined for hilarity. Lil' Wayne and T-Pain laced the track with auto-tune while LL Cool J and Will.i.am belted out some of the most generic, underwhelming raps about hope and Haitian prosperity I've ever heard. You guys even had 10 seconds of Michael Jackson superimposed next to Janet (I wonder if Universal is going to sue for that).I mean seriously guys, if you're going to do charity songs, you should make sure the song sounds good. Everyone in that room, for the most part, was tone-deaf, making the actual singers in the ensemble sounds just as bad. It was like you guys pressed to find something to do, and at the last minute someone said, "Hey! Maybe we should remake 'We Are the World!'"

Good idea, but bad execution, guys. It's one thing to bring celebrities together for a good cause. It's something completely different to invite everyone in your BBM and ask Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones to make singers out of them. Like I said before, I can't balk at your attempt, because no charity should go unheralded. Why ruin a classic though? I'd rather remember it...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Steve Nash is... The Most Ridiculous Man in the World



Steve Nash is a Hall of Fame point guard, two time NBA MVP, and apparently, a budding comedic filmmaker. Instead of going the traditional route of having a cheesy, slow-motion commercial, where he does moves you've already seen him do to a dark background and cool music, he's making his own Vitamin Water commercial. The ad clearly pokes fun at the Dos Equis commercials and put Steve Nash on my radar for one of the funniest dudes in the NBA (especially now that Gilbert Arenas got knocked off). Check his new Vitamin Water commercial, and his older mock-infomercial...

Get Him to the Greek - Trailer



Let's get this straight: spin-offs usually SUCK. In fact, I'd rather most spinoffs stay unspun, so that the original story doesn't get thrown to the whims of idiocy by money-hungry Hollywood producers. Regardless, there are a few instances where spinoffs might very well be just as funny as the first. Enter 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall', a hilarious interpretation of the (a)typical breakup. Remember Aldous Snow, the drugged-out, hypersexual, societal norm-bashing rock star that took the main character's girlfriend? Yeah, well this new movie, 'Get Him to the Greek' is Aldous' spinoff, where a record company intern (Jonah Hill aka the fat kid from Superbad) has to transport the lawless rocker from London to Los Angeles in 72 hours. Judging from the character in the first movie, this should be epic. Hopefully the producers didn't write out all of the funny stuff from the first movie. If not, I'll have wasted two hours on OneClickMoviez $12 for a sub-par spinoff comedy. Then again, it's from the same team as Knocked Up, so it might be entertaining, at least. You be the judge. Check the trailer and look out for the movie on June 4th...

Dear Valentine's Day

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All the Charlie Browns out there can relate...

There are soooooooo many things I could say about you V-Day. So many. I could call you a corporate creation, a devious idea devised by Hallmark and DeBeers to capitalize on our romantic insecurities. You could be the crutch that Hallmark relies on, since no one really buys greeting cards anymore. You could be an excuse for everyone to rush to their local Walgreens at 5:57 today to pick up various red-colored and heart-shaped wares that lose their value in 2 days. That's the most popular reason for hating you these days, so I'll go somewhere different to keep from beating dead Cupids horses with sticks. I could call you a day of exclusion and isolation for those unfortunate enough to not have a significant other, but that would be me being bitter and angry at my own lack of romance. It would certainly be easy, but probably the most depressing letter I've ever written. No one likes to be reminded of the fact that they're alone, so I'll steer clear of that one too. I could call you a lot of things, but instead I'm going to pose a hypothetical:

What do people born on February 14 do?

Simple, yet puzzling isn't it? Seriously though, V-Day. If a person's birthday just so happens to lie on February 14th, their personal day of conquest and admiration turns into a lovey-dovey heart-fest. If the person decides to go to dinner, they're privy to the oodles of couples playing tonsil hockey, whether its Applebee's or Mr. Chow. If the person goes to work or school, they're subject to everyone trying to infect them with the Red Fever. If the person turns on the television, they have to watch bad Valentine's Day episodes of every show, from the Seinfeld to Sesame Street. Hell, if they want to go to the movies, they have to be tortured by the sight of a movie, dedicated to your namesake and ideology: that love can conquer all. It's like there's a hex on today if you're single or don't feel love's oh-so-icky (taking it back to kindergarten) pull. V-Day, I don't buy it, nor will I be buying anything.

No, this isn't an 'I hate love' post, nor do I intend to take money love out of your pockets heart, by disparaging the lameness love that goes into your day. If you're meant to touch a couple, then do your thing V-Day. If someone happens to have a storybook ending on your day, then that's just peachy (the opposite happens so much more often than we like to admit). Just know that my Sunday, and my weekend will be dedicated not to you or any significant other. I will be bumping the hardest, hood-ded-est, ignorant of all hip-hop (Ready to Die is inevitably part of that playlist), writing some more of these blogs, and watching NBA All-Star Weekend, hoping that the Red Fever comes nowhere near these shores. Valentine's Day, ironically, instead of loving others more after you, I love myself all the more, as selfish as that sounds. Hopefully more people do the same instead of having insulin shock delivered in a heart-shaped box...

How can any sane, single person not want to murder the creators of this movie??

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (2/11)

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Women's Natural Scent More Seductive Than Perfume

China Jails Man 13 Years For Running Porn Site

Superbowl Ads By The Numbers [Detailed Info Chart]

Mocking Palin, Obama spokesman writes grocery list on hand

CNN: Not Getting Hired? 10 Reasons Why

The Internet is Killing Your Attention Span

Man Builds Mustang Out Of Lamborghini

FBI Wants To Follow You Around The Internet

Dear Google



It's one things to adopt a new feature to add to another. It's a completely different thing to jack a concept completely and integrate it into your system. Google, you were always one of my favorite companies because you oozed innovation and bled creativity. Hell, I have Google EVERYTHING. This blog is through a subsidiary of Google. I can't stress how integral you guys have been to the growth of internet culture in the past decade. However, as of late it's become obvious that you have lost a step.

Google Wave was muddled and, to say the least, useless. I can't tell you any reason I would use it, nor do I know anyone who uses it. I suppose it was all hype that we all got on it and hounded each other for invites. Regardless, I can respect your attempt. Yet instead of trying to make Wave better or going back to the drawing board, you guys, in laymen's terms, swagger-jacked. Google Buzz is a Google-branded Twitter, with minor additions like pictures. Even so, what benefit do I gain from using Buzz? It's not like, you guys are bringing anything new to the table, or even (gasp) doing anything revolutionary. Google Buzz is a cheap imitation at best, and anyone with a Twitter knows it. It's even funnier that I can post a Buzz that can get posted to Twitter. At least you're trying. I guess losing China and their 1.4 billion hits is catching up. Too bad...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

YC the Cynic - You're Welcome

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YC the Cynic - You're Welcome

I always discover the best rappers when I least expect it. YC the Cynic, hailing from the Bronx (BX stand up!), is an unassuming early-20's rapper, with a Twitter. Why would anybody check him more than (insert rapper) from (insert crew/clique)? There are way too many rappers out right now, and you don't know who to waste your time with. I guess I really downloaded the album because the name 'cynic' stood out to me. Yes, YC's cynical. He also has the craziest vocabulary I've heard since Lupe. No, he's not the next Lupe. In fact he's far from that. YC is so straightforward on his tracks that he has to be a cynic. Tracks like 'Chris Brown's Latest Hit' show how little he cares about the idiocy plaguing mainstream society. His disdain for rap's direction as of late is shown in his verbal prowess and easy flow. The beats on the album, 'You're Welcome' are halfway decent. He used a few early 90's tracks like 'Rebirth of Slick' and rode them to perfection. YC reminds me of that era of Digable Planets, but with so much more potential. Hopefully 2010 is the 'Return of Slick'. D/l, tracklist, #dopetracks, and loosies after the jump...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dear Lil' Wayne (re: Jail Time)


Wisdom can take more forms than you think...

Okay Wayne, this was about to be the funniest, most cynical, most indirectly disparaging letter EVER, until last week when I watched your 'The Carter' documentary with AKZionz and Devin. The documentary gave me a much more clear perspective on your ways, your musical approach and your outlook on life. While I can't agree with the content of much of your lifestyle, the documentary put your unbelievable work ethic and general wisdom in plain view. I must say I'm impressed. That said, I still think it's hilarious that you're going to jail. In fact, I think it's hilarious that most of Young Money is saying things like 'this shit is wack' or 'how can they take his freedom.' It's not like you were caught with automatic guns and hefty amounts of mary jane... TWICE. Even in lieu of that I can't even be mad...

via MTV.com:
Video director David Rousseau said he and the Cash Money team might need to check the Guinness Book of World Records: He and his company Creativeseen may be the new record-holders for most music videos shot in 48 hours. Lil' Wayne was expected to begin serving his one-year sentence on a weapons-possession charge on Tuesday (February 9), and while that sentencing was postponed until March 2, the MC has spent recent weeks manically recording music and videos — and over the past weekend, he hit the latter with a vengeance.

Cash Money chiefs Ronald "Slim" Williams and his brother Brian (a.k.a. Baby, a.k.a. The Birdman) enlisted Rousseau to shoot nine videos for Lil' Wayne during Friday, Saturday and parts of Sunday. The director said he and his crew started setting up for the production around 9 a.m. Friday and the last camera stopped rolling at around 8 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday.

Reading that was like seeing the school bully at the cathedral praying after school. Wayne, people can and always will hate you. They'll say your music is ignorant and degrading and silly and stupid. They'll say you're a terrible role model (he really isn't a role model in the first place) and that you going to jail is exactly what you deserve. But at the end of the day, those same people are most likely the ones buying your albums and writing about your music and watching your videos. Now that you filmed 9 in the span of a weekend, the haters (I hate using that word) will have their hands full, especially now that you're not going in until March 2nd. Few people truly grind, and even fewer respect it. I suppose when you're as engrossed in repetition as you are, you don't see that....

NBA x Mickey D's



I've never been one for mixing artery-clogging fast food with the peak of physical activity in basketball, but anytime good old Mickey D's hooks up with the NBA, I will be watching. LeBron has, for the last few years, been the face of the league, while Dwight Howard is another recognizable face in what I like to call 'The New School' of stars in the NBA. The same goes for Dwyane Wade. During this past Super Bowl, all three of the superstars were featured in new advertisements. Dwyane Wade was in a new commercial for his sneaker with Air Jordan, while LeBron & D-12 debuted their new McDonald's commercial. This ad is easily drawing comparisons to the Michael Jordan & Larry Bird commercial from the early 90's. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird had distinct personalities and visible chemistry in their commercial. LeBron & Dwight?? Not so much. Regardless, for every kid that pisses their pants upon seeing CGI dunks, this commercial should wet their whistle. Check out the old-school one, too...

Dear Auto-Tune



You were the hottest rehashed new trend in music, and in 2005, T-Pain made every dead funk artist roll over in his grave with your use. Auto-tune, most people have no clue how you work, or where you came from, or even what '808's & Heartbreaks' was, but by the end of the Super Bowl, you were dead. By the time the Budweiser Corporation cashes in from the above commercial, no hip-hop artist will step within 10 feet of you. Okay, maybe T-Pain will fiddle with you some more, but he more or less made himself the spokesperson for hip-hop autotune (sad that we can call it a genre now). Regardless, autotune isn't the first hip-hop fad that went mainstream and then went south. You'll probably end up like phat, kickin, bling-bling, maxin, BALLIN!!, and every other piece of hip-hop lore that got popular: in a VH1 special 5 years later.

To be honest, Jay-Z loaded the gun, but Bud Light shot it through your digitally-enhanced sound. 'Death of Autotune' didn't kill you, though it sure signaled the end was near. As soon as Corporate America saw that a star as big as Jay-Z saying your name in a song, it was on like Donkey Kong. Even if he used you in a song and kept it in hip-hop rotation, they would have jumped on you. Autotune, that commercial might have been the end, yet you gave us some of the most memorable songs of the decade (kinda???). Instead of signaling your death with silence (sorry, Jay), I think it's best to remember the tracks that made auto-tune a trend in the first place...

PS: Ron Browz's career should be in the obituary, too...







Monday, February 8, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (2/8)


When they reminisce over you, my God...

How Crack & Rap Stopped Activism In Youth

A Black President Before a Black ‘Bachelor’?

School secretary axed for speaking Spanish

Obama Invites GOP Leaders to Health Care Talk

2010 Super Bowl Ads

Google analyst: U.S. Internet needs to get faster

US Soldier Uses CIA Torture on 4-Yr Old Daughter For Not Knowing ABC's

Botox Inhibits Ability to Understand Anger & Sadness

How to Make it in America



HBO has a knack for airing shows that display the tiniest aspects of the most unheralded and least visited lifestyles. Whether its mob bosses in the Sopranos, vampires in True Blood, or a male prostitute on Hung, HBO shows always have a unique perspective. This bad boy should be no different. 'How to Make it in America' is another Mark Walhberg-produced show (new season of Entourage needs to hurry up) about two fashion designers struggling to make it in the cutthroat design world of New York City. It stars a Dear Whoever favorite, KiD CuDi, and should be a good watch for all of you streetwear afficianados out there. Check out the first episode below...

Dear Sarah Palin



I was not aware that taking interview tips from a high school debate team was the latest in cutting edge political strategy, Sarah. Hell, if I'd known that that's how you end up getting nominated for the Vice Presidency, I would have more notes on my body than Weezy F. Baby. But seriously, Sarah, everything has kind of taken a tragic, yet hilarious spiral since you and Old Man McCain lost to Barry and Joe. It's a foregone conclusion that you're trying to stay in the spotlight and maybe squirm your way into the 2012 election. That said, you haven't really gotten much good press this year. From your daughter's illegitimate child being born, to you joining the evil empire of FOX News, to your war against the word 'retard', to your own property tax woes, nothing you do right now is making me think you even have a shot of knocking Barack off in 2012. After seeing him rally the country's legislature at the State of the Union, and then verbally destroy the opposition, seeing you look at the notes on your hand is terrible. It's like watching Michael Jordan dunk on 5 people at once, then seeing a worse player airball on a layup. Sarah, you'd better get your act straight in the next three years because that was sad. Maybe you should invest in a telepromtper, or even MEMORIZE what you want to say...

Air Jordan 'Nightmares Never Sleep' Commercial



So what if the sneaker itself looks sub-par? So what D-Wade is nowhere near close to getting back to the Finals with that sorry team of his? When Jordan Brand is backing you, it's pretty much a given that not everything is as bad as it seems. Dwyane Wade's signature sneaker will probably be the Air Jordan 2010 (there seems to be a huge hole in the middle of it) and JB has started off marketing their new cash cow the right way. This commercial is ILL. Check out the 'monster' that the Artist Formerly Known as Flash has become...

NBA Midseason Awards

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Only certain players can create their own statistical categories...

Okay people, NBA All-Star Weekend is less than a week away, meaning most teams have played about 50 games. Some squads have pulled away from the pack, while others have fallen to ridiculous (even record) lows. Right about now, the players who have impacted their teams and the league the most are starting to shine and it's coming to crunch time with 30 games left. Check the midseason awards and keep it locked for more NBA coverage this week as we get to All-Star Weekend...

MVP

LeBron James



This was a big surprise (sarcasm). LeBron has been cruising this season, and has the Cavs at the top of the East. He's still flirting with triple-doubles and shooting over 50% from the field. King James is the best in the league this year, and everyone knows it. Unless the Cavs have a tremendous collapse, or Kobe wins the 'ship with a broken femur, it's a foregone conclusion that LeBron James will be the most valuable player in 2010, which will only up his hype as we go into free agency...

Sixth Man

Jamal Crawford



This one is also a runaway victory. Crawford has always been a ridiculous scorer, both as a starter and off the bench. It took him signing with the Hawks for the league to really take notice. Craford's averaging 18 points per game (more than Al Horford; should he be in the ASG?) and has his way too many buzzer beaters this season. Any player that makes a team a contender with his bench play deserves 6th Man of the Year...

Most Improved Player

Josh Smith



This one was honestly a toss-up, because it could literally be any player who's seen a progression this year. I picked Josh Smith because he's shown the best improvement and has helped his team the most. Smith finally stopped shooting three pointers, started crashing the boards every game, upped his blocks and developed the mean little 10-15 foot game, all while keeping that mind-blowing athleticism up to par. Dude also posted his first career triple double and ANOTHER Atlanta Hawk who should have made the ASG over Al Horford...

Defensive Player of the Year

Gerald Wallace



Defensive Player of the Year is always one of the hardest awards to give out, since a single player's defense rarely is the difference between winning and losing. Also, defense has soooo much to do with who is around you that players get overlooked or given too much credit. Fortunately for us, that's not the case this year. Gerald Wallace is running away with this one simply because he's a 6'7" forward damn near at the top of the league in rebounding, blocks and steals, and holding down one of the stingiest defenses in the league...

Rookie of the Year

Tyreke Evans



In December, I would have handed this award to Brandon Jennings and called it a day. Jennings hit the rookie wall, while Tyreke has been playing out of his mind. He's scoring effortlessly and made the Kings entertaining to watch. Hopefully Tyreke doesn't hit a wall either, although he's caught the injury bug lately...